(NaturalNews) Corruption and greed have been longstanding issues within the healthcare industry. Kickbacks and rewards for doctors, along with industry monopolies, have contributed significantly to this problem. Many people avoid going to the doctor until it’s nearly too late because they are afraid they will go bankrupt just for visiting the hospital or going to their doctor’s office. Many people are not even sure they can trust their doctors to do what is actually best for them anymore.
Many of these financial forces, which are causing an uptick in care costs for everyone, are kept out of the public eye, and doctors may sometimes not even be aware of them. Dr. Cory Michael writes that many doctors in the hospital system lack a critical understanding of the mechanisms by which medical costs are generated, or how those costs get paid for. He states, “Hospitals intentionally keep doctors in the dark about these things.” Doctors within the hospital system may order a battery of tests, but often do not know how much it costs unless they have also been on the receiving end of major illness. In this instance, it is not so much the doctor who is corrupt, but rather the hospital they work for. And, as Dr. Michael pointed out, putting a patient into bankruptcy is hardly in the patient’s best interests.
Beyond that though, insurers, hospital networks and regulatory groups have managed to introduce a system of reward and punishment that can also heavily influence your physician’s decisions. These kinds of contracts “pay for performance” and encourage doctors to meet strict goals for treatment and testing. These targets are generic, population-based goals – there is no room for individual needs in a quota-based healthcare system. Many people are treated needlessly with medications that don’t even work, and they still have to pay for it.
A perfect example of these ridiculous quotas is the fact that doctors are rewarded for keeping their patients’ cholesterol levels down. And of course, one of the top ways to keep cholesterol levels down for doctors is by prescribing statins. Statins come with their own health risks though, such as an increased risk of diabetes, muscle pain and much more. A 2015 study found that the benefits of statins have also been grossly exaggerated through the manipulation of statistics. Dr. David M. Diamond, a professor of psychology, molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida, and Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, an independent health researcher and expert in cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, who authored the paper, concluded, “Statin advocates have used statistical deception to create the illusion that statins are ‘wonder drugs,’ when the reality is that their modest benefits are more than offset by their adverse effects.”
Furthermore, a study published in 2016 revealed that cholesterol may not actually be bad for you. A group of international experts conducted an analysis of roughly 70,000 people and found that there was no link between “bad” cholesterol and premature death in individuals over the age of 60. Amazingly enough, they found that 92 percent of people with high cholesterol actually lived longer, prompting the group to suggest that treating high cholesterol with statins is actually a waste of time (and presumably, money).
So, who are doctors really serving when they continue to prescribe questionable treatment modalities without batting an eyelash? And who do you think really creates these so-called “metrics” of treatment and testing? It surely isn’t your doctor – they’re just doing what they’re told to do, so they can make more money off you.
The fact is that doctors who hit their “targets” are paid more money by the insurance companies, and they receive higher rankings on the insurers’ websites. Those who do not meet these arbitrary-at-best quotas are not paid as much money, and they receive poorer ratings on the insurers’ websites. Insurance companies aren’t just dictating how many patients a doctor needs to treat for a given condition, either.
The New York Times reports that WellPoint, a large private-payer healthcare network, has created designated treatment pathways for cancer patients. Doctors who follow these designated pathways are rewarded with $350 extra per month, per patient treated with their protocol. Insurance companies cannot, and should not, decide what the best mode of treatment is for a patient – especially a patient with a life-threatening disease.
There are many faces of corruption within the medical industry: doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. All of these forces collude together to create the most profit for themselves, while jeopardizing patient care, increasing costs and contributing to a growing distrust of the entire system. How can anyone be sure that the treatment their doctor is prescribing to them is actually for their benefit, and not just so their doctor can meet their monthly quota?
(NaturalNews) Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America today, and many people are looking for ways to better protect their hearts through diet. The good news is that there are plenty of heart-healthy “superfoods” out there that can get the job done, and the following are some of your best options:
Salmon: Oily fish in general are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids that decrease the risk of heart conditions like atherosclerosis and arrhythmia, while lowering triglyceride levels and improving cholesterol levels.
Blueberries: Rich in anthocyanin and flavonoid antioxidants, blueberries are a great way to protect against heart disease. One study found that they help reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 32 percent.
Oatmeal: An excellent source of soluble fiber, oatmeal helps scrub the digestive tract and lower circulating cholesterol levels, both of which help protect the circulatory system.
Dark chocolate: Chocolate is another great source of heart-protective flavonoids and polyphenols – and when it comes to the best types, the darker the better! Dark chocolate consisting of at least 60–70 percent cocoa has been shown to help lower blood pressure and inflammation while also preventing blood clots.
Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is heart-protective, and citrus fruits are abundant in it. They also contain their own unique flavonoid profiles that have been shown to help lower the risk of ischemic stroke.
Tomatoes: Rich in the antioxidant carotenoid lycopene, tomatoes help lower the risk of heart attack by dilating blood vessels. They also help clean up “bad” cholesterol.
Legumes: Regular consumption of green beans, peas, lentils and other legumes has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease by as much as 22 percent. Legumes also help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Green tea: Another excellent source of antioxidants, this staple of Asian libation has been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by as much as 20 percent.
Nuts: Whether it’s almonds, pistachios, walnuts or pecans, nuts contain an assortment of fiber, vitamins and fats, all of which are heart-protective. Studies show that their vitamin E and omega-3 content in particular are what make nuts so beneficial in maintaining heart health.
Red wine: A rich source of resveratrol, red wine can actually help promote heart health and longevity when consumed in moderation. Resveratrol, which is found primarily in grape skins, has been shown to protect the endothelial lining of arteries while minimizing oxidative stress.
Potatoes: They often get a bad rap because they’re high in starch, but potatoes also contain high levels of heart-protective potassium, which is known to lower blood pressure. Potatoes also contain fiber, which helps protect against heart disease.
Leafy green vegetables: Rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, leafy green vegetables do wonders for the heart and circulatory system, helping to rid the body of inflammation-causing free radicals and other toxins.
Coffee: Believe it or not, this morning elixir has been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by as much as 30 percent. Just be sure to look for organic varieties that are low in mycotoxins.
Chia seeds: This omega-3-rich superfood is a panacea for lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation. Chia seeds and many of the other foods mentioned here are available from the Health Ranger Store.
Avocados: Rich in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats and fiber, avocados are an excellent food for lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and maintaining overall heart health.
Pomegranates: A “best in class” fruit when it comes to heart health, the pomegranate has been aggressively studied for its amazing ability to minimize oxidative stress, support the production and activity of vasodilating nitric oxide and lower LDL cholesterol levels.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, guides the test-firing of a new multiple launch rocket system in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang on March 4, 2016. (KCNA/Via Reuters)
By Anna Fifield October 8 at 1:00 AM
SEOUL — North Korea conducted its first nuclear test exactly 10 years ago Sunday, exploding a crude atomic bomb and crossing what had long been considered a “red line.”
A decade of condemnation, sanctions and ostracism later, the regime in Pyongyang has not pulled back. Far from it.
Today, the country has a demonstrated nuclear weapons program, has made clear progress with missiles and is widely assumed to be able to put the two together. The only real question now is whether North Korea can deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to a target, and that is not much of a question. If it cannot yet, it will soon, analysts say.
North Korea is “racing towards the nuclear finish line,” as Van Jackson, associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, a Pentagon think tank in Hawaii, puts it.
The next demonstration of leader Kim Jong Un’s intent could come as soon as Monday.
Large screens show Korean rocket launches, missile tests, ground war footage as well as other patriotic imagery as the Korean People’s Army State Merited Chorus and Ensemble performs at a concert in Pyongyang on May 11, 2016. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
Oct. 10 is the anniversary of the establishment of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party — an event celebrated with fanfare — and Pyongyang likes to time its provocations. Last month’s nuclear test was carried out on North Korea’s Foundation Day.
[North Korea conducts fifth nuclear test, claims it has made warheads with ‘higher strike power’]
As a bonus, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be taking to the stage for their second debate on Monday morning Korea time.
Preparations for another test could be underway. The latest commercial satellite imagery shows activity at all three tunnels leading into the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, analyst Jack Liu wrote Thursday on 38 North, a website devoted to North Korea.
Even if North Korea lets Monday pass, there still may be fireworks before the year is out.
“That would make perfect sense in the warped logic of North Korea,” said Andrew Shearer, a former Australian national security adviser now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Hong Yong-pyo, South Korea’s unification minister, told a parliamentary hearing two weeks ago that he expected another provocation — whether a nuclear test or another long-range-missile launch — before the end of this year.
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North Korea has been pursuing nuclear weapons for decades, ramping up efforts after the collapse of its benefactor, the Soviet Union, in 1989 and the end of the Cold War. But Kim Jong Il, the second-generation leader who ruled North Korea between 1994 and 2011, appeared to restrain the program because of Chinese pressure.
That is not the case with his son.
Kim Jong Un has ordered 49 missile tests in the almost five years since he took over, including 21 this year alone. He has also presided over three nuclear tests, two of them in 2016.
By contrast, North Korea conducted only 26 missile tests and two nuclear tests in the 18 years that Kim Jong Il was leader.
[N. Korea inches closer to being able to send a nuclear-tipped missile to the U.S.]
“With the ballistic missile tests one after the other, they seem to be under tremendous pressure to advance their program,” said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank that focuses on nuclear weapons.
North Korean scientists did not even appear to be taking the time to drill back into the nuclear test site to analyze the Sept. 9 explosion, a standard step that gives scientists a lot of information. “It’s really troubling,” Albright said of the pace of missile and nuclear testing.
The speed of the testing is breathtaking, but analysts seem to be more worried that North Korea is learning a lot and making big technical advances.
When North Korea first claimed to have launched a ballistic missile from a submarine in May, there was much derision because it appeared that the photographs had been doctored. Fast forward to August, and North Korea carried out a successful test from a submarine.
“It seems like North Korea is trying to build a wide array of delivery platforms so that they’re able to hit Japan, South Korea, American assets in Asia, and eventually, the homeland,” said Vipin Narang, a political scientist and expert on nuclear proliferation at MIT.
As the international community tries to formulate a harsh response to last month’s nuclear test, Pyongyang is likely to continue to hone its technology, experts say.
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The September test was North Korea’s largest yet, with the explosion carrying a yield of about 10 kilotons of TNT. But Albright said he expected that the country would now try to find ways to boost its bomb’s yield up to 20 or 25 kilotons. The atomic bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 had a yield of 15 kilotons.
[These North Korean missile launches are adding up to something very troubling]
The recent developments are alarming policymakers in neighboring countries and in the United States, leading to increasingly frequent talk about preemptive strikes — an option long considered so impossible it was hardly ever mentioned.
In the vice-presidential debate Tuesday, Democratic candidate Tim Kaine suggested he would support striking North Korea to stop a nuclear attack on the United States.
Mike Pence, his Republican rival, said that a President Trump would not allow North Korea to “flout American power.”
The South Korean Defense Ministry said this week that it would consult with its American ally “over a possible preemptive strike against North Korea . . . in case of an imminent nuclear attack by the North.”
U.S. leaders have long ruled out taking military action against Pyongyang. This is partly because there is no appetite in the United States for another war, and partly because preemptive action would almost certainly lead to the devastation of Seoul, a city of 20 million that is within range of North Korea’s conventional artillery.
[Everything you need to know about the North Korean nuclear test]
But the advances in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program are starting to change the conversation in Washington, where the words “preemptive strike” are more regularly mentioned. “We’re still a long way from seeing the U.S. moving in that direction, but there has been a noticeable change in the dynamic,” Shearer said.
Meanwhile, some analysts are concerned about an accidental escalation, perhaps during joint exercises between the U.S. and South Korean militaries, or that North Korea might make its own preemptive move.
With its relatively small nuclear arsenal, North Korea might judge that its best strategy is to go first, Jackson said.
“If they have small numbers of nukes and they see the cavalry coming, their options are to sit on them and lose them, or use them and hope that it achieves something,” he said.
Narang said North Korea no longer appears to be following the Cold War model of having nuclear weapons for mutually assured destruction but seems to be looking more and more like Pakistan, which has adopted a strategy of “asymmetric escalation” — being able to use a nuclear arsenal against a conventional attack.
“It looks like North Korea is thinking about what it would look like if they had to use these weapons on their own,” Narang said. “This program is no longer a joke.”
New Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos faces a difficult month before his inaugeration in August as the UN Human Rights Council is expected to hear allegations about his and his predecessor’s role in civilian deaths.
Santos was defense minister at the height of the civilian killings
Victory for Santos in Colombia’s election runoff against rival Antanas Mockus, a former defense minister, may mean a new leader takes the reins but his presidency will mean an old scandal will continue to dog and haunt the country.
As Santos prepares to take over from out-going President Álvaro Uribe on August 7, his and his predecessor’s names are expected to feature in hearings at the UN Human Rights Council this month on allegations relating to their roles in the illegal killings of civilians.
While serving in the Uribe administration as defense minister between 2006 and 2009, Santos was in charge of the military at a time when the Colombian army’s alleged policy of murdering civilians in so-called “false positive” killings was at its height. It is alleged that army units killed civilians to artificially increase the number of combat fatalities in battles against rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Santos was responsible for coordinating Uribe’s mission to eradicate Colombia of FARC and restore security to one of the most violent countries in the world. The military operation forced FARC out of the cities into remote jungle areas, radically reduced the number of killings and kidnappings in urban areas and rescued Colombia from becoming a failed state. The success of Uribe’s mission cemented his popularity and created his reputation among many as the man who saved Colombia.
Missing civilians linked to expanding war on FARC
Colombian troops are accused of killing civilians as FARC rebels
However, human rights campaigners and international investigators were first alerted to a dark by-product of Uribe’s campaign by accusations from families of missing men who claimed that the massive gains the Colombian military were making against FARC were being boosted by the “false positive” killings of innocent civilians.
The allegations and subsequent investigations led to the removal of the chief of the Colombian military and 27 of his officers but Santos was spared. The Colombian government has since taken further steps to prevent such killings but, according to UN statistics, up to 98.5 percent remain unpunished.
Santos continues to claim the killings were the acts of individual soldiers and units and were not sanctioned by the defense ministry. UN investigators remain unconvinced.
“There have been too many killings of a similar nature to characterize them as isolated incidents carried out by individual rogue soldiers or units, or ‘bad apples’,” Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings wrote in a report presented to the UN Human Rights Council on June 3. “Soldiers simply knew that they could get away with murder.”
Poor people executed as rebels to boost casualty figures
Not all FARC deaths were rebel victims
One of the cases being investigated focuses on Soacha, a poor suburb of the capital Bogotá, and the town of Ocaña some 600 kilometers (372 miles) away. In 2008, it is alleged that dozens of young men were lured from Soacha by paramilitaries and criminals promising employment in Ocaña. Once there, they were allegedly sold to Colombian army units which executed them as FARC guerrillas. Their bodies were then supposedly clothed in military fatigues and draped with weapons and equipment. The dead were then claimed to be rebel casualties in Uribe’s fight against FARC.
For the families, this made no sense. How could the men of Soacha, most unable to read or write, others with mental disabilities, transform themselves into uniformed, armed guerrillas ready to take on the battle-hardened Colombian military, just days after leaving home?
“The doctor and the judge said that my son was killed in combat at 2.45am on March 5,” one mother told Deutsche Welle. “His corpse was clothed in camouflage and boots – completely different clothes from what he was wearing when he left.”
“The investigations must examine everything, because this cannot continue like this,” another anonymous mother from Soacha told Deutsche Welle. “We will not rest. This must not go unpunished, although I know that Colombia is the land of impunity.”
This is just one of the approximately 1,300 cases being examined by investigators from the public prosecutor’s office which suspect military personnel of murdering civilians and claiming they were guerrillas killed in combat in order to win bonuses of up to €1,500 ($1,890) per victim. Human rights campaigners suggest that over 2,000 young men were killed and buried in common graves as part of this policy.
It is alleged that the kill bonus for units reporting higher enemy body counts, introduced by Uribe’s administration in 2005 as part of its intensifying offensive against FARC, contributed to the practise of abducting civilians and executing them as rebels. The large increase of civilian disappearances in Colombia can be traced back to this time.
Former leader claims the ends justified the means
In the past, Uribe has defended his government’s use of all necessary force to combat FARC, saying that the country is safer than ever now due to his crackdown. His opponents reject his argument that the ends justify the means.
Uribe said that the force used to rout FARC was justified
“The reasoning of the government is completely worn out in my opinion and Santos must find alternatives,” Camilo Gonzalez Pozo, director of the Colombian Institute for the Study of Development and Peace, told Deutsche Welle. “The war against FARC was the basis for all Uribe’s government decisions. If there was unemployment, FARC was to blame for it. If there were ‘false positives’ then FARC was to blame for it. If there were paramilitaries, then FARC was to blame for it. All these arguments have worn themselves out.”
With Santos unlikely to swerve from Uribe’s course of hunting and destroying FARC rebels in the jungles of Colombia once he becomes president, the memories of what happened in the early years of the operation are unlikely to dissipate. The anticipated investigations and hearings during this month’s UN Human Rights Council session will also keep the topic in the public domain.
As of Oct. 1, Russia had hundreds more nuclear warheads deployed than the United States did. A startling 429 more, in fact, according to the U.S. State Department.
Don’t panic quite yet. The gap is probably temporary. But that doesn’t mean all’s well when it comes to potentially world-ending weaponry.
The reason for the disparity is simple. While the U.S. military has been steadily cutting the number of nukes it loads on submarines and bombers and in missile silos, Russian forces have recently been adding more.
Seemingly more worrying for the United States, Russia’s 1,796 deployed warheads exceed—by a whopping 246 weapons—the cap of 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons that Moscow and Washington agreed to as part of the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The United States, meanwhile, is already well below the New START cap. America’s missile submarines, nuclear-capable heavy bombers, and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles are armed with just 1,367 warheads, the State Department says.
Both Russia’s nuke surplus and America’s lesser total could change in the next 17 months. Washington and Moscow have agreed on a Feb. 5, 2018, deadline for fully implementing New START. Until then, the countries’ respective nuclear arsenals could fluctuate in size—and often.
“You have to keep in mind that numbers go up and down on a day-to-day basis, so a one-day [snapshot] may mislead about force trends over time,” Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert who blogs at Arms Control Wonk, told The Daily Beast.
Both the United States and Russia have signaled their intention to abide by New START’s terms, meaning Russia will probably start shedding old warheads pretty soon, replacing them with a smaller number of newer atomic munitions and ultimately erasing the current nuclear disparity. “Neither of us is in violation of the agreement,” Lewis stressed.
New START is actually one of the few reasons for optimism amid the U.S.-Russia strategic arms race. For starters, the treaty only covers deployed nukes—meaning those on quick alert aboard subs, on planes, and in silos.
The treaty doesn’t limit how many perfectly functional nuclear weapons the United States and Russia can keep in storage. In many cases, those warheads could go from “stored” to “deployed” with just a few hours’ work.
The State Department told The Daily Beast that the United States possesses 4,717 “deployed and non-deployed” nuclear weapons. Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, has estimated Russia’s stockpile to be around 4,500 warheads. Neither Washington nor Moscow discloses the exact number of its nukes that are totally inactive and awaiting dismantling.
President Obama has called for further nuke cuts—although, in fact, his administration has reduced America’s nuclear stockpile at the slowest rate in a generation. Regardless, the Republican-led Senate, which must approve any treaty, has resisted deeper reductions in the U.S. arsenal. Both the U.S. and Russian governments plan to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in coming decades modernizing their nuclear arsenals with new warheads … and better rockets, bombers, and submarines to carry them.
“Although these programs do not constitute a buildup of the overall nuclear arsenal, they are very comprehensive and reaffirm the determination by both Russia and the United States to retain large offensive nuclear arsenals at high levels of operational readiness,” Kristensen wrote on his blog.
While New START seems to be holding strong, a separate disarmament deal—whereby the United States and Russia agreed to dispose of excess fissile material—has just collapsed. The Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, signed in 2000, covered 34 tons of surplus, weapons-grade plutonium in each country.
Under the terms of the agreement, both Russia and the United States would render the plutonium unusable for military purposes—not only to decrease nuclear tensions between the two powers, but also to ensure the excess plutonium didn’t somehow wind up in terrorists’ hands.
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Citing a “radically changed environment,” Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Oct. 3 that Russia was pulling out of the deal. Nevertheless, Moscow informally pledged that it wouldn’t use the old plutonium in weapons—agreement or no.
“The decision by the Russians to unilaterally withdraw from this commitment is disappointing,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “The announcement about the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement is more in line with those kinds of decisions that have only deepened Russia’s isolation in the international community.”
Meanwhile, the United States has been insisting for at least three years now that Russia is violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which bans many types of short-range nuclear weapons.
U.S. officials have not said just how Russia is allegedly violating the treaty, but the purported breach might involve the road-mobile SS-25 ballistic missile.
Earnest expressed cautious optimism that, despite everything, Russia is still committed to reducing the risk of atomic warfare. He pointed to Russia’s cooperation with the United States in negotiating the deal with Iran to end that country’s nuclear-weapons program. “I think that’s an indication of the priority that Russia has placed on nonproliferation,” Earnest said.
But Russia’s and America’s equal commitments to maintaining and modernizing their overall nuclear arsenals—regardless of any agreement to cap the number of deployed warheads—speaks to an underlying atomic distrust that lingers a quarter-century after the Cold War ended.
“How the two countries justify such large arsenals is somewhat of a mystery,” Kristensen noted, “but seems to be mainly determined by the size of the other side’s arsenal.”
These Light Bulbs Cause Anxiety, Migraines, and Even Cancer.
Many of us in the effort to save energy and money, replaced our old standard light bulbs with environmentally-friendly new generation energy saving light bulbs. However, the new generation of energy efficient light bulbs are so toxic that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created an emergency protocol you need to follow in the event of a bulb breakage, due to the poison gas that is released. If broken indoors, these light bulbs release 20 times the maximum acceptable mercury concentration into the air, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Fraunhofer Wilhelm Klauditz Institute for German’s Federal Environment Agency.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Can Cause
Inability to concentrate
Energy Efficient Bulbs Cause Anxiety, Migraines, and Even Cancer. Reasons to Go Back To Incandescent Bulbs
Energy saving bulbs contain mercury. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that is especially dangerous to children and pregnant women.
It is especially toxic to the brain, the nervous system, the liver and the kidneys. It can also damage the cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. It can lead to tremors, anxiety, insomnia, memory loss, headaches, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Energy Saving Bulbs Can Cause Cancer
A new study performed by Peter Braun at Berlin Germany’s Alab Laboratory found these light bulbs contain poisonous carcinogens that could cause cancer.
Phenol – A mildly acidic toxic white crystalline solid, obtained from coal tar and used in chemical manufacture.
Naphthalene – A volatile white crystalline compound, produced by the distillation of coal tar, used in mothballs and as a raw material for chemical manufacture.
Styrene – An unsaturated liquid hydrocarbon, obtained as a petroleum byproduct.
Energy Saving Light Bulbs Emit a Lot of UV Rays
Energy saving lamps emit UV-B and traces of UV-C radiation. It is generally recognized that UV-radiation is harmful to the skin (can lead to skin cancer) and the eyes. The radiation from these bulbs directly attacks the immune system, and furthermore, damages the skin tissues enough to prevent the proper formation of vitamin D-3.
So despite the energy and cost savings, these light bulbs pose serious health risks and you may want to change back to regular incandescent bulbs. But be careful while doing so. If one happens to break, the dangers are so severe that the Environmental Protection Agency has laid out a very detailed protocol to deal with the mercury and cancer-causing chemicals, which you can read below:
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the following emergency procedure should be followed in the event of a bulb breakage, due to the poison gas that is released.
Have people and pets leave the room.
Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.
Shut off the central forced-air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one.
Stiff paper or cardboard
Damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces)
A glass jar with a metal lid or a sealable plastic bag.
DO NOT VACUUM. Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.
Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder.
Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag. See the detailed cleanup instructions for more information and for differences in cleaning up hard surfaces versus carpeting or rugs.
Place cleanup materials in a sealable container.
Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
If practical, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.
With all that being said, it’s best to replace this generation of light bulbs with standard ones before a dangerous accident happens.
Republican lawmakers are accusing the Obama administration of allowing countries like Russia, China and Iran to take control over the Internet. Their beef with the administration focuses on a relatively obscure nonprofit overseen by the U.S. government that is scheduled to become fully independent Saturday.
The organization is called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN for short. Its history traces back to a graduate student at UCLA named Jon Postel.
He started keeping track of the unique numbers assigned to particular computers using the Internet, during its early days. Jonathan Zittrain, an Internet law professor at Harvard, says Postel kept a clipboard to make sure no user had the same number — sort of like a phone book.
U.S. Prepares To Relinquish Oversight Of Internet To International Body
“It was just sort of an honor system that would stop Caltech from coming in, or Bulgaria, from saying, ‘You know what, we’re going to start using those numbers,’ ” Zittrain says. “It’s just something that would be a way of coordinating as people came online and needed to use numbers and, later, names.”
Today that function is done by ICANN, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles with a budget of more than $130 million and more than 350 employees. It keeps track of millions of websites all over the globe.
Since its founding in 1998, ICANN has been overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department. But the government contract ends on Sept. 30 and the Obama administration plans to let ICANN become fully independent.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has waged a campaign against the transition that includes ominous sounding videos, in which he says that the phase-out of U.S. oversight will open the door to authoritarian governments taking control of the Internet.
“Russia, and China, and Iran don’t have a First Amendment,” Cruz says in one of the videos. “They don’t protect free speech, and they actively censor the Internet. ICANN could do the same thing, putting foreign countries in charge of what you can say online, prohibiting speech that they disagree with.”
Though ICANN oversees a fairly geeky administrative function, it does have an advisory panel that includes representatives of governments from all over the world. And there have been some dust-ups over the granting of new domain names, which has made some critics worry that ICANN is already being used to clamp down on speech.
Gay rights advocates have been trying to get approval for a .gay domain so that gay people all over the world can easily find resources. ICANN has been evaluating the requests for years, says Berin Szoka, president of the TechFreedom think tank that has opposed the transition. He says it’s not clear what’s really going on.
“It’s always going to be a little bit hazy. It’s going to be hard to actually know who’s really driving what,” Szoka says. “So here, for example, I guarantee you there are governments that have been exercising whatever influence they can to stop the creation of .gay.”
Advocates for ICANN’s independence say that there are a lot of safeguards in place to limit any government intrusion. The organization’s global board is made up of business, nonprofit and academic leaders. The rules make it hard for governments to exert that much influence.
And, Harvard’s Zittrain says, governments that want to censor the Internet already do so in much more effective ways: “There are so many other paths that the Russians or the Chinese could take and have taken to make sure that their citizens or even people around the world can’t see stuff that they don’t want them to see.”
He points out that despite Cruz calling the transition “a radical proposal,” the U.S. government has been planning to fully privatize ICANN for years — going back to the Clinton administration, continuing with George W. Bush and now Obama.
The plan’s supporters argue that not completing the phase-out could undermine U.S. credibility. “There are people who will argue that if we don’t give it up that we have bad motives,” Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security secretary under George W. Bush and Obama, told the AP.
Zittrain thinks Republicans are politicizing this to attack the president. “It’s a little strange to see people who have been vocal about getting the government out of content-based decisions insisting that the government remain in the position of wielding a veto over some aspect of the flow of bits online,” he says.
Cruz had pushed to include a provision to preserve U.S. oversight of ICANN into the Senate’s spending bill, but the legislation’s most recent version didn’t include it. He is now urging House Republicans to take up the cause.
And though Cruz and Donald Trump have their differences, last week the Republican nominee came out in support of Cruz’s efforts to stop the transition.
Election officials in Franklin County, Ohio are reportedly stumped over what one maintenance worker found in a dilapidated downtown Columbus warehouse earlier this week.
According to sources, Randall Prince, a Columbus-area electrical worker, was doing a routine check of his companies wiring and electrical systems when he stumbled across approximately one dozen black, sealed ballot boxes filled with thousands of Franklin County votes for Hillary Clinton and other Democrat candidates.
“No one really goes in this building. It’s mainly used for short-term storage by a commercial plumber,” Prince said.
So when Prince, who is a Trump supporter, saw several black boxes in an otherwise empty room, he went to investigate. What he found could allegedly be evidence of a massive operation designed to deliver Clinton the crucial swing state.
Prince, shown here, poses with his find, as election officials investigate.
Early voting does not begin in Ohio until October 12, so no votes have officially been cast in the Buckeye state. However, inside these boxes were, what one source described as, “potentially tens of thousands of votes” for Hillary Clinton.
Christian Times Newspaper has not yet been able to obtain a photocopy of one of the ballots found inside the box, but an affiliate in Ohio passed along a replica of what was found.
It is important to note that the above replica coincides with a ballot that a Franklin County voter would cast at the polling place on Election Day, meaning the Clinton campaign’s likely goal was to slip the fake ballot boxes in with the real ballot boxes when they went to official election judges on November 8th.
Ohio, a perennial swing state in the presidential election, has been a challenge for Clinton and her Democrat counterparts in 2016. Many national Democrat groups have pulled funding from the state entirely, in order to redirect it to places in which they are doing better.
Clinton herself has spent less time in Ohio, and spent less money, in recent weeks as it has appeared that Trump will carry the crucial state.
With this find, however, it now appears that Clinton and the Democrat Party planned on stealing the state on Election Day, making any campaigning there now a waste of time.
This story is still developing, and CTN will bring you more when we have it.
UPDATE: 5:53pm EDT: A Texas federal judge Friday denied (PDF) a request by Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas to block the US from ceding the Internet’s root zone oversight duties to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Unless a higher court intervenes, the changeover will begin tonight at midnight EDT.
Remember the projected Y2K bug disaster? The world’s computers would supposedly go haywire as the clock ticked to January 1, 2000, thus destroying the world and ensuing widespread panic. Didn’t happen. Fast forward to today, however, and another doomsday scenario is afoot (albeit with much less fanfare).
If many politicians are to be believed, an Internet disaster is set to commence this Saturday. That’s when a tiny branch of the US Commerce Department officially hands over its oversight of the Internet’s “address book” or root zone—the highest level of the domain naming system (DNS) structure—to a nonprofit, a Los Angeles-based body called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Calling it an “Internet giveaway,” many Republican lawmakers tried to block the changeover, a transition that is strongly supported by the President Barack Obama administration and by Internet giants like Facebook and Google.
“Today our country faces a threat to the Internet as we know it… If Congress fails to act, the Obama administration intends to give away the Internet to an international body akin to the United Nations,” said lawmaker Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in a recent speech on the Senate floor. “I rise today to discuss the significant, irreparable damage this proposed Internet giveaway could wreak not only on our nation but on free speech across the world.”
The campaign of Donald Trump, the GOP presidential candidate, offered similar words:
“The Republicans in Congress are admirably leading a fight to save the Internet this week, and need all the help the American people can give them to be successful. Congress needs to act, or Internet freedom will be lost for good, since there will be no way to make it great again once it is lost.”
But ICANN, the Commerce Department, and plenty of others, have scoffed at the assertion made by Cruz, Trump, and countless others.
“The US government has never, and has never had the ability to, set the direction of the (ICANN) community’s policy development work based on First Amendment ideas,” ICANN said in a statement. “Yet that is exactly what Senator Cruz is suggesting. The US government has no decreased role. Other governments have no increased role. There is simply no change to governmental involvement in policy development work in ICANN.”
Cruz has a scary looking website with a countdown clock leading to October 1. With the changeover imminent, US lawmakers have been haggling over the issue all week. Some, like Cruz, have even attempted to slip language barring the transition into legislation for continuing to fund the US government. But late Wednesday, that attempt failed. Conveniently, the government’s fiscal year ends September 30, the same day the Commerce Department’s oversight of the global DNS is terminated.
One other hurdle remains. A last-minute federal lawsuit (PDF) brought by Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas. The attorneys general for those states are seeking a court order from a federal judge to block the move. A hearing has been set for Friday afternoon. “Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the Internet is lunacy,” Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, said.
Overall opposition to the transition appears to be largely political. Many GOP lawmakers (and the Trump campaign) are seemingly arguing that without US oversight, foreign governments or hacking groups from the Internet’s dark corners might take over, control the Internet, and censor it dramatically. What’s more, these critics suggest that without US oversight, the Internet’s infrastructure might crumble entirely. The World Wide Web would be left in a state of anarchy.
That simply isn’t true. Ask other US officials, tech companies, or even Internet architects who helped build the current system, and they’ll say the US government’s oversight role of the Internet is too small for such doomsday scenarios to occur. In fact, these proponents of the transition even say that leaving the root zone under US control could cause more harm than good in the long run.
Rhetoric aside, US retains vast Internet control
Regardless of who’s right or wrong in the ICANN changeover debate, one thing nobody can deny is that the United States will continue exercising a powerful hold over a great swath of the Internet—evenunder the transition. That’s because the companies that oversee the world’s most popular top-level domains (.com, .org, and .net) are based in the United States. These organizations must follow US law and abide by US court orders, and they have to remove websites from the global Internet when ordered to do so.
To date, these court orders are how the US government has seized thousands of websites it has declared to be breaking laws about intellectual property, drugs, gambling, and you name it. Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload file-sharing site fell because of this in 2012. The Bodog online sports wagering site was shuttered by the US that same year even though that .com domain was purchased with a Canadian register.
What’s more, even when a domain is registered under a handle that is outside of the United States’ official jurisdiction, the US government has international cooperation agreements with many countries that require foreign registries to abide by US directives. The most high-profile case of this kind was this summer’s shuttering of one of the world’s most notorious file-sharing sites—KAT.cr, or the KickassTorrents website. While the site had been playing a game of Internet domain Whac-a-mole to retain a leg up on global intellectual property authorities, it was registered with the .cr domain by the Costa Rican register called NIC when it was shuttered at the request of the US. The site’s alleged operator was arrested in July in Poland and charged by US authorities with varying criminal copyright infringement counts.
The US often leaves a landing page on shuttered sites notifying Web surfers that sites were “seized pursuant to an order issued by a US District Court.” Whether you call it censorship or just following the law, countries across the globe have similar domain-seizing powers that won’t be disturbed by the ICANN changeover.
The fact that .com, .net, and .org sites are run by US-based companies isn’t trivial, either. Verisign, of Virginia, maintains the global DNS Internet root zone system at the center of the ICANN transition debate, and the company has an indefinite contractual right from ICANN to manage the globe’s .com and .net domains. About 127 million of the world’s 334 million top-level domain name registrations worldwide are .com, according to Verisign. The .net domain comes in fifth place worldwide, and .org is sixth place. The .org domain is operated by the Public Interest Registry, also of Virginia.
So what is this ICANN transition about?
The most simple answer is that a branch of the US Commerce Department will no longer have technical oversight of a contract (PDF) with ICANN and Verisign over the maintenance of the Internet’s DNS. Just like its endless deal to manage .com and .net, ICANN has already ceded Verisign the indefinite contractual rights (PDF) to manage the global Internet’s DNS root zone. Verisign can only lose the rights to renew these contracts if it doesn’t perform.
At its most basic level, the DNS allows Internet surfers to input “arstechnica.com” into a Web browser to render the Ars news site. Absent such a coordinated, worldwide naming system, Internet surfers would have to type in Ars’ real IP address: (22.214.171.124). Verisign said its DNS average daily query load was approximately 130 billion queries for the second quarter of 2016, up 17 percent year over year. (Verisign declined to comment for this story.)
ICANN was created in 1998 to take over the job of essentially a single person, Jon Postel, who is now deceased and was often referred to as the “God of the Internet.” He had run the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). That agency (PDF) was consumed by the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a branch of the US Commerce Department. The NTIA says it only has a “procedural role” in approving zone changes, and the group says it has been planning to remove itself from this role for nearly two decades in order to cede that responsibility to ICANN, which has an organizational chart that would put most private industry to shame.
Essentially, this oversight is all that is left of the US government’s control of the DNS. Under the transition, the feds will no longer have that role when October begins.
Here’s what the NTIA told Ars in a recent e-mail:
The IANA transition is the final step in a nearly 20-year process to privatize the Internet domain name system. Two years ago, NTIA announced it would transition our stewardship role related to the Internet domain name system to the Internet multistakeholder community, which includes businesses, technical experts, academics, civil society groups, and other stakeholders. This move will help ensure that the stakeholders who own and operate, transact business, and exchange information over the myriad of networks that comprise the Internet will continue to make decisions about the technical underpinnings of the Internet just as they do today. The transition will help preserve and strengthen this multistakeholder approach that has helped make the Internet an engine for economic growth, innovation, and free expression.
Government-speak aside, here’s what’s really happening: when there is a root zone change request from a domain registry, for example, this needs to be approved by the Commerce Department’s NTIA “before Verisign can act on it,” Akram Atallah, ICANN’s president of the global domains division, told Ars in a recent interview.
“In reality, the only thing that really changes is that NTIA will no longer approve these changes. We will send them to Verisign, and Verisign will have to update the root zone,” he said.
According to Atallah, the system works like this: suppose the operator of the .ru domain in Russia, or Egypt’s .eg, wants to add an IP address to a new server or wants to change an IP address because a server went down. He said the operators of those domains would send ICANN a request “to add a root zone file change,” which is essentially a change in the global Internet address book. This same thing needs to happen when new generic, top-level domains are rolled out, such as .store or .book and dozens of others.
“We send this to Verisign to put in the root zone file. NTIA has to approve this action before Verisign can update the root zone file,” Atallah said, explaining how the system works under the Commerce Department’s oversight.
For its part, NTIA explains its oversight role as this: ICANN comes to NTIA with a root zone change request. NTIA verifies that ICANN followed established protocol for that change, and then NTIA authorizes the root zone change. NTIA’s briefing paper (PDF) about the DNS oversight role it is ceding is public and explains things in more granular detail.
In all, the NTIA signed off on 1,513 root zone changes last year. This year, there have been 1,051 so far.
“The US government was really never very hands on in terms of its oversight,” said Jeremy Malcolm, a policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Someone had to be there to make sure that the right processes were being followed so the organization could run. Its role was not of how it runs, but of ensuring it runs true to its founding objectives and that it remains accountable and transparent.”
Atallah believes ICANN is now ready to take over that role. “We have tested and demonstrated that we can do this,” he said. And Atallah thinks it makes good business sense for Verisign to enjoy an indefinite contract, which includes a maximum $7.85 for each .com registration. Under a competitive landscape, he said, companies may not want to go the extra mile, “because they have no assurances if they invest heavily in the business they will be able to reap the benefits.”
Atallah said both Verisign and the NTIA have to follow the contractual rules, meaning that neither the NTIA nor Verisign has the power to act on its own—preventing things like unilaterally meddling with the Internet’s DNS zoning system to comport with their own wills. For that matter, ICANN must follow its own rules, too, and it cannot cede to pressure from any single government. For example, the US government tried to exert its power over ICANN to block it from implementing the .xxx domain, but ICANN approved it anyway in 2011.